Wind Mobile Responds To Criticism Over Blocked Ports

Wind Mobile has faced growing criticism over the past couple of days from its user community about blocked ports for those on unlimited data plans.  The reports indicated that the port blocking was effectively blocking access to a wide range of applications include streaming media, MSN, and Google Talk.  The blocking appeared to contradict the company's claims about its mobile Internet services.  Interestingly, as I was preparing this post, the company responded on its site.  It now says its has opened up many of the blocked ports to enable the applications that were facing challenges.  Moreover, the company says it will fix any remaining issues if alerted to them.


  1. Simply not acceptable.
    The FAQ states “Peer to Peer/File sharing applications are only accessible with our Infinite Laptop plan that comes with our Huawei E181 Data Stick.” … the regulators have made it very clear that Net Neutrality rules are to be applied to wireless and that outright blocking of applications is out of bounds.

    That on top of their seemingly white-list approach to allowing applications — in ab ‘optimized’ (read prioritized) fashion creates an innovation by permission system which is simply unacceptable.

    I smell a CRTC complaint coming.

  2. Matthew Skala says:

    Positive or negative option?
    The way the company’s announcement is phrased is very telling: instead of talking about services they blocked, they say, look, here are all the services we DO support! And we’ll add more! For a service not to be usable, is the default.

    That is not how the Internet works. That is not how the end-to-end, dumb network paradigm works. On a real, standard Internet connection, you can use *all* services unless they’ve been specifically blocked; it’s negative-option. If there’s a thing on which you can only use services that have been specifically enabled, positive-option, and the normal expectation is that a new service won’t work, then that thing is not a real, standard Internet connection.

  3. Specifications
    I’ve seen previous attempts to use port white/black list techniques to selectively block various P2P technologies. It isn’t effective in the long run, and in the meantime it causes all kinds of grief for users.
    The underlying (and incorrect) assumption behind this technique is that various services are limited to certain ports. Sure, there are defined “standard” ports, but technically you can run just about any service on any port. Server/service/firewall defined.
    In my experience, ssh and vpn are the most common services that frequently use non-standard ports, but I have seen many other web based applications that do so. By the time you have sampled a decent size client base (200K+) and the range of online applications they use, you will have opened up close to 50% of the possible ports anyway. And you will always have missed some, perhaps some that didn’t exist when you took your sample.

    Such techniques can hinder P2P, but can’t effectively block it.

    If they wish to use port blocking, they should also openly publish the list of ports that they do (or do not) block, not simply by application name but by udp/tcp port number. Likewise if they block other protocols (gre, igp, rdp, ipv6, etc), they should publish that as well.
    This is fair to the user, and the technical staff trying to support the application. Having spent many hours diagnosing odd network application failures, I can say that selective blocking wastes a lot of support time and causes user frustration. It also drives up the cost of application support.

  4. .
    as far as im concerned wind mobile is selling people a glorified rogers unlimited surf package which only costs 10 bucks with rogers but 35 with wind. its truely a joke and i do agree the crtc needs to be called in on this as wind has openly addmited they are blocking most internet ports on there infinite mobile package and trying to sell it as a full blown internet addon which is complete false advertising.

  5. Automation Analyst
    I have recently purchased the Bold and I am also unhappy with the port blockage. At first I purchased their stick amd it does not work with Vista. Not what they told me when I purhased it. I have been back since over the last couple of months and was told

    1) The stick is still not working with Vista
    2) The stick kicks out after abougt 15 minutes and is their largest return item (Hamilton Ontario).

    Since I am job huntung in the computer sector it is crucial that I am connected to email and am stuck with a slow tethered blackberry (just to access email).

    Outside of their internet technical difficulties I am quite happy with their phone service and prices.

    I guess it would be too much to ask for salespeople to be honest up front prior to the financial outlay of buying a cell phone. I am glad I purchased a SIM chip based phone as this will leave my options open if I decide to change carriers.

    I am quite certain that the bad image they are causing will cost them more money then the occasional heavy user.

    I do wish them the best of luck in sorting out their technical problems as it is nice to see someone challenging the monopolies.

  6. They’re doing it again.
    I believe WIND are blocking PPTP again.

    Please do chime in if you’re having a similar experience. I can’t use it natively on my phone, nor tethered.

    As soon as I go to wifi, it works perfectly.